I am a proud member of a private Twitter group of whisky fans called The Whisky Circus, created at the beginning of the lockdown my Sorren “@ocdwhisky” Krebs, a well-known whisky blogger and now a brand ambassador for The English Whisky Company. The Whisky Circus is about 50 members big from several countries (UK obviously, but there are also people from Ireland, France – this humble writer included, Belgium, Sweden, Norway…). We meet every Sunday afternoon on Zoom and thanks to Sorren’s relations in the whisky industry, we now have one or more guests from the industry who come to discuss with us every week. Though you cannot participate in those Zoom sessions if you’re not a member of the group, you can watch the replays on Sorren’s Youtube channel, as our sessions are recorded for their most serious part. All the secrets from the trade, however, are not, sorry-not-sorry!
A few weeks ago, Sorren, with both his Whisky Circus ringmaster and The English Whisky brand ambassador hats, contacted the most regular members of the Whisky Circus to offer an English Whisky tasting with a then yet unannounced new release: the new English 11-year-old single malt. So I guess it was an English Whisky Circus Tasting. After all, the English language loves contractions. Julien tasted an English whisky bottling by SMWS before and liked it a lot, but we didn’t introduce the distillery then. So let’s talk about The English Whisky for a moment before diving into the samples.
Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery. This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.
Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.
The third SMWS release from Saint George’s Distillery (The English Whisky), a 9 years old first fill ex-bourbon barrel. This one measured against the Laphroaig I had before – which was hard, but I was told it was founded by an ex from Laphroaig based on English peat. Why not?
A very surprising juniper start, followed by sea salt, chocolate and apricot, and at the very end a low key custard.
Attacking on an alcoholic burn. Milk chocolate, very smooth smoke with a slight sea salty after taste.
Finish a bit short yet on sea salt crystals, with this smooth smoke bringing them forward.
I discovered a new distillery with this one. I have absolutely no regret but this one: I waited for the Joie de vivre release on October 10th to make my order and there was none of this release left. My world is misery.